THE MORNING LINE -- August 5, 2011 at 8:47 AM EDT
Obama Can Tout Improved Jobless Rate, but the Race Will Be Won in 2012
President Obama will speak about the economy Friday. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.
There's only one story worth watching in American politics today and it's the story that will likely determine the outcome of the 2012 presidential election.
Coming on the heels of a whopping 512 point drop in the stock market Thursday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 117,000 jobs were created in July, with unemployment ticking down a tenth of a percent at 9.1 percent.
Many economists were expecting the creation of 85,000 jobs, so the better than expected report may help ease some of the market jitters after Thursday's massive sell off.
The July number is far better than the anemic 18,000 created in June, but still not enough to keep up with population growth and clearly not robust enough to make a significant dent in the sky-high unemployment rate.
Don't expect that talk about a possible double-dip recession to dissipate entirely based on this one report.
However, when President Obama heads to the Washington Navy Yard at 11 a.m. ET Friday to speak about getting America's veterans into the workforce, he'll have some forward progress to tout.
Add to the mix the latest round of polling, this time courtesy of the New York Times and CBS News, which shows Americans are basically giving up on their political leaders.
Although the presidential election is 15 months away, some facts will likely define the shape of the race. The economy is still likely to be a cause of great pain to many Americans, and Washington is likely to still be viewed as a toxic dump of intransigent partisanship incapable of addressing the problems facing most Americans.
What makes it all the more frustrating for the Obama team is that neither factor is really in the president's control to alter. However, the president and his advisers take heart in the fact that his Republican opponents have yet to capture the imagination of the public with an inspiring, better path to more prosperous times.
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